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The Week in Gaming: Lucasfilm Games' Star Wars plans; Cyberpunk 2077's next steps; Indiana Jones & more
There’s a new, old Star Wars name on the galactic gaming horizon, and it appears to be greeting a whole new universe of future titles set in the galaxy far, far away (as well as some other George Lucas-created places).
Nearly two years after quietly reviving the Lucasfilm Games banner, Disney finally made some noise this week to share an early peek at some of the on-screen reasons why. After showing off a revamped logo and teasing that future game projects would all fall under the Lucasfilm Games umbrella, the studio revealed a pair of upcoming games with Lucasfilm roots: an open-world Star Wars title, and an Indiana Jones game from perennial western RPG publishing powerhouse Bethesda.
Manning the cockpit for the yet-untitled Star Wars game is publisher Ubisoft, via its in-house developer Massive Entertainment (the Swedish studio behind Tom Clancy's The Division 2). Of course it’s too early to expect tons of details, but Ubisoft already has at least revealed that it’ll be a “a unique game in the saga with a captivating story and set of characters that players can relate to and connect with” — while taking “what is familiar and resonant about Star Wars and tell[ing] the stories of new characters who have their own motivations and stakes.”While Ubisoft’s working on that, Bethesda’s in-house studio MachineGames (another Swedish developer whose recent résumé includes Bethesda’s Wolfenstein franchise) will be artifact spelunking in the world of Indiana Jones. Todd Howard, the Skyrim and Fallout publisher’s longtime creative maestro, will be overseeing the new project as executive producer. Bethesda teased that the new game would be “a wholly original, standalone tale set at the height of the career of the famed adventurer,” but other than that — and the appropriately Indy-cool teaser clip shown above — that’s about all the info we’ve gotten so far.
As fans have long known, EA has been the exclusive gaming epicenter for all things Star Wars since acquiring the licensing rights for new Star Wars games in the wake of Disney’s Lucasfilm buyout in 2012. That partnership’s yielded a handful of games that’ve won fans over (including recent hits like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Star Wars: Squadrons), but it’s also led to more than a few instances of putting out titles that, ahem, weren’t exactly the games anyone was looking for.
Just because the Force is awakening under the Lucasfilm Games label doesn’t mean that EA is done making Star Wars games. Rather, it simply means that Disney is going to shop its gaming options to studios throughout the industry, rewarding the best ideas with the green light to move forward with new projects. EA clarified its ongoing role in the Star Wars gaming galaxy this week by saying it’ll still be very much involved, commenting to Games Radar and other media that its Lucasfilm Games collaborations “will continue for years to come.”
As if to drive that point home, EA and developer Respawn debuted a performance boost for PS5 and Xbox Series X players of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order this very week. Released in 2019 for PS4 and Xbox One, Fallen Order is backward-compatible on both of the newer platforms, and next-gen console owners can now dive back into Cal Kestis’ adventure in a cost-free update that takes advantage of the newer hardware’s higher frame rates and resolutions.
Regardless of who’s developing it, and regardless of whether it’s Star Wars, Indy, or even something else (could a Willow game be in our future?), expect news of more Lucasfilm gaming goodies in the months ahead. Lucasfilm Games VP Douglas Reilly told StarWars.com this week that the label’s new approach to gaming content has been a long time coming, and that this week’s announcements are only the beginning.
“We’ve got a lot of stuff we’re ready to start sharing with fans,” he said, “because we’ve been working quietly behind the scenes for a while now, waiting for this moment.”
The best of the rest
A Cyberpunk mea culpa — and what's next
It’s well known at this point, but Cyberpunk 2077 players have gotten completely different mileage out of CD Projekt RED’s hugely-anticipated RPG depending on the platform on which they play it — with PS4 and Xbox One players definitely experiencing the worst of the game’s by-now well-documented last-gen shortcomings.
Wirth a lawsuit in the offing and even console makers themselves stepping in to intercede on fans’ behalf, CD Projekt cofounder Marcin Iwiński released a straight-to-the-point video this week, apologizing for the game’s last-gen console faults and pledging a path forward to a fix.We’ve gone in depth about the game’s problems, as well as the studio’s mea culpa, elsewhere — even as we’ve tracked how great the PC-optimized version of Cyberpunk 2077 can be when it’s actually firing on all cylinders. But what happens next? Though the PS4 and Xbox One versions are backward compatible on PS5 and Xbox Series X, the studio already was planning on upgraded next-gen versions of the game before any of the last-gen playability issues surfaced, and there were also plans to bring an unspecified number of free, post-launch DLC add-ons to the game.
According to the studio, those things are all still on track, though CD Projekt is staying vague for now on the extent to which the last-gen bug fixes — which clearly have taken priority — will delay the process.
“You can expect more in the way of patches — both small and large — to be released regularly,” the game’s Jan. 13 info update states. “The first update will drop in the next 10 days, and it will be followed by a larger, more significant update, in the weeks after. Our plans for supporting Cyberpunk 2077 in the long-term are unchanged, and we will continue to introduce updates and patches to give all players across all consoles and PCs a better experience with the game.”
PS5 and Xbox Series X players are still on track to receive bespoke, powered-up versions of Cyberpunk 2077, with the studio now targeting a release window of “the second half of the year.” As has been the case since first being announced, those versions will be free upgrades to any player who’s already bought a copy of the PS4 or Xbox One versions.
As for DLC, it appears as though all the patch work will delay new content, though the studio isn’t ready to say by how long. “We’re still planning on releasing free DLC for the game, just like with The Witcher 3,” the update states. “However, we have decided that our priority is working on the most important fixes and updates. We will be releasing free DLC afterwards — we’ll have more to say about that in the coming months.”
Move over, Star Trek and Game of Thrones: Assassin’s Creed fans have been delving so deeply into the mysteries of their beloved fantasy franchise that Ubisoft’s alt-history take on the secrets of the Knights Templar may just be finding its own seat at the deep-lore table.
In a mind-blowing revelation this week, Assassin’s Creed fan community Access the Animus revealed they’ve all but cracked the code behind Isu, the fictitious in-game written language that’s long been a part of the AC series. In a 30-minute YouTube video, the group breaks down the results of countless hours’ worth of fans’ deciphering efforts…and it should melt the heart of anyone who’s ever tried to speak Klingon.
Check it out:
Discussing Isu almost feels kind of spoiler-y to anyone who’s never played an Assassin’s Creed game, especially if they’ve only started with later titles. But it’s the latest release — Assassin’s Creed Valhalla — that offered up something of a cipher, as developer Ubisoft included some fragmentary translations that allowed sufficiently devoted players to begin working backwards to fill in the missing pieces.
Access the Animus has done just that, finding that someone at Ubisoft appears to have boned up on their Greek and Latin to construct a fictional modern-day language that holds up to the kind of scrutiny you’d normally expect in an advanced syntax and grammar class. The first video’s a deep, deep dive, but it’s also just he beginning: the group says it has more instructional clips planned, with the next one focused on helping players “to understand and translate the language” on their own.
Who knows? If the real world gets any crazier, there might be more than a recreational use for a secret language (with secret-society origins) that almost no one outside your trusted circle can translate or speak. Then again, though…probably not. Either way, just think of it as free online learning with some serious fan street cred — Assassin’s Creed style.
We can’t let the week pass without celebrating the long-awaited return of a game that pushes all our old-school buttons in exactly the right way: After going dormant following its 2010 release, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game is back to rock current-gen players’ world in a new “Complete Edition” that (thankfully) alters its source material almost not at all — and it’s available as of Jan. 14 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Google Stadia, and PC.
Don’t look now, but there’s a big gameplay reveal event set for next week that’ll serve up the biggest (and probably creepiest) look yet at Resident Evil’s first intrepid foray into the new console generation. Capcom has set Jan. 21 as the date for its planned Resident Evil Village online showcase. Tune in at 5 p.m. EST next week for “world-first gameplay and a brand new trailer for Resident Evil Village, plus much more Resident Evil news live as it happens.”
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter apparently needs a just little more time with the Sorting Hat before its upcoming PS5 and Xbox Series X game is ready to cast that first spell. Warner Bros. and developer Avalanche Software revealed this week that the open-world action RPG Hogwarts Legacy has been delayed from its planned 2021 release to sometime in 2022.
Nothing to see here but 10 minutes of incredibly moody gameplay from publisher Bandai Namco’s horror adventure puzzler Little Nightmares II. Don’t be put off by those creepy school kids; they’re only clay effigies…but definitely do take off running when that twisted teacher cranes her sneaky, way-too-snaky neck to catch you before you can dive for cover. Little Nightmares II is set to release Feb. 11 for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
This year’s first in a long line of next-gen Xbox exclusive games heads our way on Jan. 28, when The Medium weaves its split-reality horror tale for Xbox Series X/S. In the meantime, feast your eyes (if you dare) on this creepy live-action trailer, premiereing this week thanks to developer Bloober Team in conjunction with computer FX company Platige Image and Oscar nominee Tomasz Bagiński.